Gardening can be a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Many of us even enjoy our horticultural adventures and take great pride in our gardens.
What we don’t enjoy is the dirt which never seems to wash away or the numerous cuts and scrapes on our hands.
Sooner or later, most gardeners will turn to gardening gloves. Good gardening gloves will protect against scratches from thorns and can help prevent blisters from gardening tools. You also won’t have to keep scrubbing away dirt that gets underneath your fingernails.
Weather-beaten and corrugated hands may be a badge of honor for some keen gardeners, but we prefer protection. Let’s see what we looked for in the top gardening gloves available at the moment.
Why You Need Gardening Gloves
Gardening isn’t for the faint-hearted. Pulling out stubborn weeds and digging up roots can all be tough. Pruning bushes and working in all climates plays havoc with your hands. If you’re serious about gardening, then a pair of durable gardening gloves is a must.
You probably aren’t aware of the serious health risks that a sedate pastime like gardening can expose you to. Toxoplasmosis, caused by a parasite found in soil, can be a serious danger to pregnant women or people with weak immune systems. Splinters and scratches from thorns could lead to sporotrichosis fungal infections, often known as rose gardener’s disease.
The following YouTube clip looks at some of the other potential dangers lurking in your soil or compost.
All the above conditions can be fatal and wearing gloves will offer protection, in addition to keeping your hands clean. A pair of good gardening gloves will protect you from all potential irritants, including any chemicals you may be using.
Finally, but by no means less important, thicker gloves can help keep those digits mobile on a cold spring morning.
What To Look For When Buying Garden Gloves
The type of gloves you need will depend on the tasks you intend to use them for. More delicate tasks will require gloves which are lightweight and don’t restrict your movement too much.
For heavy duty tasks, like chopping wood, digging or pruning bushes, you may consider a pair of gauntlet-style gloves for more protection.
For people who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia or similar conditions, simple jobs can often become a major task. Look for gloves which have been specifically designed for such purposes.
Some gardening gloves will feature extra comfort benefits that will allow you to carry out simple tasks with less pain and effort.
Gardening gloves come in a wide variety of materials. Washable cotton gloves may be suitable for lighter tasks, like planting, but will tear easily and can absorb moisture.
For heavy-duty jobs like pruning or digging, you will need more durable gloves, made from nitrile or leather.
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber which is known for being allergy safe, resistant to chemicals and hard to puncture. Although durable, nitrile gloves are more flexible than leather and will offer a steadier grip in damp and muddy conditions.
Less expensive gloves tend to use nitrile or have a durable rubber palm with a lighter material on top.
Leather gloves will offer the most durability when working with thorny bushes, but will be more expensive than nitrile. Many types of leather are used, but goatskin leather is preferred for gardening, as it is both tough and flexible.
There are even faux leather alternatives for the vegan gardeners out there.
The Size of Gloves
There’s nothing worse than a badly-fitting gardening glove. What should be a pleasurable pastime can quickly turn into a miserable experience. Ideally, a glove should be snug but not too tight that it restricts your movement.
Most gloves are designed specifically for either a man or a woman. Although unisex gloves do exist, they can often be too wide for most women’s hands. Some gloves intended for men can, however, fit a woman if you go down one size from your normal fit—and vice versa.
If you’re purchasing your gloves online, check if the manufacturer has an online sizing guide. This can either be in the form of a table of measurements or a printed outline that you lay your hand on. These guides indicate whether a glove will be a comfortable fit for your shape of hand or fingers.
For heavy duty tasks, many people prefer their gloves to be a little looser for more flexibility. For traditional gardening tasks, a snug glove will stay put better, keep out the dirt and give you more precision.
A Balance of Durability and Comfort
The material and fit of a glove can both affect its comfort and durability. If you choose a glove which is uncomfortable, you are less likely to wear it. Unfortunately, the most comfortable gloves tend to be the least durable.
Cotton gloves will offer more softness but not much in the way of protection from thorns or sharp twigs. All-leather or nitrile gloves will protect against nicks and cuts but won’t have much breathability or maneuverability.
Sometimes you will need the extra dexterity of cotton to feel the weeds you are pulling out.
Unless your task is heavy pruning of thorny plants, lighter gloves are a better choice and will prevent your hands from blistering. Gloves which are seamless on the inside will help avoid those annoying threads that may cut into your skin.
Double stitching on the joints of the glove can offer support and comfort for gardeners with arthritis and other mobility issues.
Quality gardening gloves will often have an extra layer of material over the fingertips to stop them from wearing out. Reinforced fingertips also protect your fingers from random sharp objects like broken glass or rusty nails you may encounter.
When dealing with thorny weeds or pruning bushes, you can keep your arms protected with gloves that go up to your elbows. If using gloves that only go to your wrist, a secure closure will ensure no debris falls into the glove. Hook-and-loop fastenings can be adjusted for a snug fit while elastic closures tend to loosen over time.
Gloves which have been designed for heavy duty work will often feature strategically placed padding. This can be found on the palms and fingers, as well as the knuckles, in case of accidentally knocks.
Too much padding, though, will make it difficult to close your hands or move your fingers.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Cheaper cotton gloves will be more suitable for lighter gardening duties but won’t last you too long. Cotton gloves or some of the cheaper rubber coated gloves are often sold in multipacks, so you have a spare if they should tear.
If you want a pair of gloves that will last you at least a couple of summers, be prepared to spend considerably more. Leather or natural hide gloves will offer the most durability but at the most expensive price.
If maintained correctly, a pair of goatskin leather gloves could offer many years of service and work out cheaper in the long run.
Pay attention to the different prices that can be charged for different sizes. Sometimes the price may also vary according to the color. The aforementioned multi-packs can often be misleading too. Is it still a bargain if you only wanted one pair of gloves?
Finally, you should consider how easy the gloves are to care for. Most gloves nowadays are machine washable, although drying instructions will often vary. Synthetic rubbers or materials will need a low temperature wash and line-drying.
Many of the leather gloves will be hand-washable and will need to be reshaped while damp, before drying.
The 5 Best Gardening Gloves
This may all seem a lot to take in for what was supposed to be a simple purchase of gardening gloves. Fear not, in the following guide we have weeded through the many available gloves to bring you, in our opinion, 5 gloves you’d be happy to buy.
We have also looked at the uses for each of them, to give you an idea of how versatile they can be.
5. Garden Gloves by Amazing Stuff For You
These soft nylon gloves have a cotton-like feel and have been dipped in nitrile for extra protection. The rubber lining on the palm side is puncture resistant and reduces cuts or scratches while offering a superior grip. Although designed to fit a woman with medium hands, they would also be suitable for men with small hands.
The slim fingers of this glove make it easy for jobs like pulling weeds or picking up debris. The gloves are perfect for tasks like raking, and could even be used to take to a gun range, or a day out on a kayak. Lightweight, they allow for easy movement of the hand and offer more breathability for the skin.
The nitrile coating is water and dirt resistant, with the gloves machine-washable for easy maintenance. They have been made to be easily removed but people with larger hands will definitely find these gloves too small. The gloves are currently only offered in a medium size.
The rubber coating doesn’t protect too well against thorns, which could result in the gloves tearing. If you need a glove to protect against heavy pruning work, you would be better choosing a more heavy duty glove. However, for light gardening tasks and versatility, thse gloves are a good budget choice.
Soft, flexible and comfortable to wear.
Nitrile coating offers protection to palm and is water-resistant.
Multi-pack purchase of two offers good value for money.
Hands can often get hot and sweaty in these gloves.
Woven fabric is easily ripped or snagged by thorns.
No protection on the top part of the glove.
Medium size may be too small, especially for men with larger hands
4. G & F 1852-3 Women Soft Jersey
These gardening gloves are ideal for households where there are several female gardeners. These G & F gloves come in a pack of three different colors: green, red and blue, with a unique floral design.
The soft jersey material is 100 percent cotton, which makes them breathable and easier to clean. Machine washable, these gloves are very quick to dry. In addition, they are quite warm and will keep your hands toasty during the fall and winter months.
Thin and lightweight, they feel like a second skin, yet are strong and secure, not tearing too easily. A snug-fitting wrist ensures no debris enters the gloves. They also have PVC dots on the palm for extra grip. Perfect for weeding or lighter gardening tasks, the gloves won’t offer enough protection against stronger thorns or sharp objects.
Three pairs of gloves for a similar price to one makes these perfect for sharing or simply keeping a few pairs as a backup. Once one pair wears out, you already have the replacement. Flexible and easy to work with, these gloves can keep your hands dirt-free and prevent abrasions or calluses.
100% cotton offers some of the most comfortable gardening gloves available.
Sturdy enough for light gardening tasks, like planting or weeding.
PVC dots offer an extra grip when pulling out weeds.
Machine-washable, but don’t tumble dry–they may shrink!
Excellent value 3-pack; one size fits most women’s hands.
Offer little protection for tough or strenuous tasks.
Sizes run small and can be tight on larger hands.
Could be too warm to use in the summer months.
The jersey fabric can catch on many obstacles in your backyard.
3. Bellingham C5371S The Bamboo Gardener
These gardening gloves from Bellingham come in a choice of small, medium, large and extra large sizes. They are ideal for both men and women, with the small size great for adults with petite hands. Made with bamboo fiber, they are lightweight and naturally hypoallergenic.
The glove uses natural bamboo-derived rayon, which has been specially bonded with nitrile on the palms and fingers. The rubber palm molds to your hand as you wear the gloves for a greater grip and more flexibility. These gloves are great for heavier jobs like clearing out rock beds, but may not be thick enough for stubborn rose bushes.
A soft 13-gauge seamless knit of the glove liner keeps your hands comfortable and blister free. We really liked how these gloves were soft, yet sturdy enough for most daily gardening tasks. A tight-fitting knitted wrist helps keep out debris and dirt as you work.
For light to medium chores, these stylish gloves are a perfect fit. Although they may be thinner than similar gloves, the choice of sizes will accommodate most hands. People with hands that are normally harder to size will find these gloves just slide on and off easily.
Comfortable and flexible lightweight gloves.
Nitrile palm and fingers act as a barrier for water and add more grip.
Easy to wash and air-dry for a longer life.
Good for those with allergy sensitive hands.
Wide choice of sizes offers a customized fit.
Thinner than other gloves and not suitable for rose bushes.
The tight-knit may cause your hands to get too hot in warmer conditions.
The gloves can be difficult to remove when your hands get sweaty.
2. Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves
Our second most favorite gloves, the Pine Tree Tools working gloves, are another pair of gloves that use bamboo for the liner. Bamboo is a perfect choice for gardening gloves as it is both naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. If your skin is very sensitive and prone to frequent breakouts, this set of gloves is a good choice.
Similar to the Bellingham gloves, these gloves employ a classic gardening green color with a nitrile-coated palm. They have been designed to offer that bare hand sensitivity, while still providing protection for your skin. Available in five sizes, from small to xx-large, a comprehensive size chart gives measurements for both hand width and finger length.
One of the main reasons these gloves are so popular is because they are breathable, meaning your hands won’t get too sticky. The bamboo naturally absorbs sweat and perspiration better than synthetic fabrics or cotton. A seamless design means the gloves won’t rub or chafe your hands either.
The nitrile coating is certified to the EN388 4132 standard of abrasion resistance and sturdy enough for most gardening tasks. However, more stubborn thorns could actually poke through over time. There is generally no substitute for leather-type fabrics for heavy pruning jobs.
Breathable and keep your hands cool.
Natural antibacterial properties of bamboo prevent the growth of bacteria or molds.
Well-fitting gloves, with easy to use sizing chart available.
Nitrile grip can help with grabbing tougher shrubs.
Easy to wash, cold hand wash only, and dry quickly.
Flexible and seamless, they won’t irritate your skin.
Comfortable enough to use for other tasks like fishing, restoration work or clamming.
No questions asked, money-back guarantee.
Very thin at the back of the glove and harder objects may brush through.
Nitrile will only provide medium protection against thorns and can puncture.
Not suitable for larger rose bushes or similar thorny trees.
Tight cuff prevents dirt getting into glove but can be uncomfortable.
Gloves will wear out quickly if you are performing extremely rough tasks.
1. Legacy Gardens Leather Gardening Gloves
For the ultimate protection in the garden, you can’t beat a pair of gloves made from leather. These gauntlet-style gloves from Legacy Gardens will protect both your hands and forearms from any unpleasant scratches. Available in sizes from extra small to extra large, they are suitable for both men and women.
These gloves are made from 100% genuine goatskin leather that offers both protection and flexibility. The ergonomic design of the gloves will allow you to grip easily when working.
Being cut-resistant and puncture-resistant, you can handle thorns, rocks, twigs or pruners with these gloves. If you can be clumsy like me, this means less chance of accidentally snipping the top of your fingers!
The thick and breathable design of these gloves allows you to use them in both hot and cold weather conditions. Unfortunately, the extended sleeve can feel a little rough and may be abrasive. These allergy-fighting gloves will help keep poison ivy, dust mites or mold at bay, with the hypoallergenic materials used.
These gloves are one of the most puncture resistant products you will find, and at a reasonable price. Legacy Gardens even offers a unique money-back guarantee if you should ever experience any cuts or grazes while wearing them.
If you work a lot with rose bushes or other stubborn thorny plants, these gloves will offer the best protection you can get.
Comfortable design for maximum protection of hands and forearms.
High-quality goatskin leather is cut-resistant and puncture-resistant.
Hypoallergenic and breathable materials used.
Solid construction quality will last longer than many other gloves.
Specially designed stitching around thumb is great for people with arthritis or other mobility of the hand issues.
No cuts or grazes, even in the most demanding of jobs, backed up with a money-back guarantee.
Longer arm length is perfect for pruning rose bushes, hauling errant hedges or pulling out poisonous or skin irritating plants.
Sizes can be too large, you probably need to order a size smaller than usual.
Extended sleeve protection is not as flexible as glove part, it can seem rough or chafing on the arms.
The sleeve may be too long for people with shorter arms, often extending above the elbow and limiting movement.
Any of the five best gardening gloves we have looked at would be suitable for light to medium gardening chores. If you want a pair of gloves that will offer the maximum protection and last longest you need to be considering leather gloves.
The Legacy Gardens leather gardening gloves are therefore our top choice for gardening and pruning your bushes. These gloves can offer years of safer gardening, due to the extra resilient goatskin leather used.